Week 4 - Football Game of the Week Preview

Lowell (3-0)
at Griffith (0-1)

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith

09-09-2020
 

Lowell's Kyler Newcom (7) likes to keep his eyes on the quarterback. Newcom returned a pass interception for a touchdown last week and he'll be eyeing veteran passer Carson Crowe this Friday night at Griffith. (Photo by Mark Smith)

When: Friday, September 11, 2020

Where: Griffith High School, 600 North Wiggs, Griffith, Indiana.

Tickets:  $6.

Kickoff:    7:00 p.m.
Radio-TV:  Live internet feed on RRSN.com (pay per view). The RRSN Lowell games you got for free last year are now (as many state broadcasts now are) pay-per-view.


Enrollment: Griffith - 653; LOWELL – 1,107.

In 2006, Griffith had 912 students. They just don’t have that many students anymore. Griffith is certain to be dropped to 3A the next time there is a reclassification and that will be a major boost for their football program where the post-season is concerned.

WEATHER:
Should be good. Upper 60s with no chance of rain. Light winds. A near perfect September night.

 

PARKING/TICKETS: Lowell folks should attempt to buy tickets in advance at Lowell because there will be a fan limit Friday at Griffith. When I say that, I don't mean you can't try to buy a ticket at the game but understand, there is an outside chance you won't be able to.

 

Arrive early, as Griffith is tucked into a neighborhood and 1/8 of a mile west of Broad Street. There has never been a lot of parking there and this is the Griffith home opener.

 

THE SITUATION: I know most of you following football have heard that 5A No. 9 Michigan City (2-1) cancelled their next two or three games because a coach tested positive for the Covid-19 virus last week.

 

It's tough on the boys, but we knew something like that was possible. Not a lot of happiness in LaPorte Country among football fans, but MC is lucky that the cancellations come at mid-season and the Wolves should be back in action before the state tournament.

 

If the virus hits your team a week before the playoffs, your season is over.

MC is also a bit lucky because the two games they definitely will lose are 5A No. 3 Valparaiso (2-0) and 6A No. 4 Merrillville (3-0). With all due respect to the Wolves, those are two losses for MC. Michigan City will see Valparaiso in Class 5A Sectional 9 and it might be better if they didn’t play them in September.

Cross your fingers for Lowell and any other high school team you may like. Players catching the virus isn’t really the most serious threat to schools. It's teachers and coaches who are older and may have pre-existing conditions.


2020 (4A) Griffith (0--1)
3-7 (2019), 8-3 (2018) 10-2 (2017) 8-4 (2016)
Coach Robert Robinson (0-1, 1st year)

9-4 (L) 0-42 at Hobart (2-1)
9-11 (4A) Lowell (3-0)
9-18 (3A) Hanover Central (2-1)
9-25 at (3A) Calumet (0-0)
10-2 at (2A) Boone Grove (0-2)
10-9 - idle
10-16 (3A) Wheeler (1-2)

4A Sectional 17
vs. East Chicago (0-0), Gary West Side (0-3) Highland (1-1), Hobart (2-1) and Lowell (3-0).

 

SECTIONAL CHANGES: Sectional 17 members Morton and Gavit have cancelled their seasons due to the Ciovid-19 virus. East Chicago has not yet played, but published reports say they are ready to go Friday night against Andrean. That makes Sectional 17 a six team sectional with two first round byes.

GRIFFITH Update:

Griffith lost 42-0 at Hobart last week, but I would throw that out. The Panthers lost their first two games to the virus and they obviously weren’t well-suited by opening against the defending 4A regional champ.

 

The Devils know that Griffith quarterback Carson Crowe (6-1, 180) is a good player. He completed 8-of-19 for 164 yards against the Brickies and he ran six times for 23 yards. Lowell needs to get their running shoes on because ‘CC’ is very mobile and he has faced Lowell three times in the last two years. He probably knows half of them by name.

Another quality member of the ‘Black Panther’ party is tight end-linebacker Conner Cervantes who caught three passes for 63 yards last week and made 10 tackles. Cervantes, a semistate qualifier in wrestling, made 83 tackles as a freshman in 2019. Rondell Latiker (5-10, 165) is a speedy receiver and Kyle Atkinson (5-7, 145) is a converted receiver at running back.

Griffith has to win time of possession against Lowell because they only have about 35 varsity players. The Panthers have to have some long, sustained drives. Crowe is also a linebacker. Latiker and Atkinson are also safeties. Griffith just doesn’t have a lot of players.

This is also the first home game for Panther new coach Robert Robinson, who has coached at Gavit (2011-2018) and Hammond (2007-2009), where he faced Lowell every year.

Again, throw out that loss at Hobart last week. I expect a top effort from Griffith this Friday.


2020 (4A) LOWELL (3-0)
7-5 (2019), 10-3 (2018), 14-1 (2017) 9-5 (2016)
Coach Keith Kilmer (11th year, 85-38) all games Friday at 7 p.m.
8-21 (W) 6-0 at (6A) Crown Point (1-2)
8-28 (W) 37-19 (6A) Portage (1-2)
9-4 (W) 26-13 (2A) Wheeler (1-2)
9-11 at (4A) GRIFFITH (0-0)
9-18 (4A) HOBART (2-1)
9-25 (4A) KANKAKEE VALLEY (3-0)
10-2 at (4A) HIGHLAND (1-1)
10-9 (5A) MUNSTER (1-2)
10-16 at (2A) ANDREAN (2-1)

Class 4A Sectional 17

vs. Gary West Side (0-3), Griffith (0-1), Highland (1-1), East Chicago (0-0) or Hobart (2-1).

 

SECTIONAL CHANGES: East Chicago will play for the first time this week so they are likely ‘in’; the rest of the way.


LOWELL Update:

 

LOWELL – Lowell showed a quality pass attack last week as Cam Stojancevich was 8 of 13 for 131 yards and two touchdowns against Wheeler. Michal Havel caught three for 59 yards and a touchdown. Havel (6-3, 176), who I don’t recall playing at all as a junior, has caught eight passes for 89 yards in three games. Lowell’s passing numbers are never going to jump off the screen at you but, with the runners they typically have (and do this fall) all they need is a half dozen completions a game with no interceptions.

Junior Joe Heuer (5-7, 170) carried 28 times for 139 yards last week, scoring his sixth TD of the season. No turnovers for Lowell so it was a quality performance. The tight end ‘twins’ of junior Spencer Barta (6-3, 210) and Caleb Miranda (6-2, 216) create a run-pass threat. Lowell used a little double tight end, I-formation 1990s throwback attack last week. I wonder what a little play-action screen pass to one of the tight ends would do.

Defensively, linebacker Kyler Newcom (5-10, 185) read a Wheeler swing pass perfectly and grabbed a pass interception for a touchdown last week. Sophomore linebacker Riley Bank (5-10, 182) got in for two quarterback sacks against the Bearcats. Bank leads Lowell with 3.5 sacks after three games. Senior defensive back Reec Ison (5-10, 172) picked off his second pass of the 2020 season and his fifth in two years.

Lowell has to find a place-kicker. They know it. Lowell has 11 touchdowns so far, no field goals and they have kicked one successful (they have tried 2-point conversions a lot recently) extra point.


LOWELL (3-0) at Griffith (0-1)


Griffith
Stadium capacity: 3,000


SAGARIN RATINGS: Lowell by 23.

This spread might be a little high because Lowell hasn’t played anybody like Hobart, the team that beat Griffith 42-0. But the Devils have beaten two Class 6A schools and they’ve won their last two by more than 10 points. For the record, Lowell was favored by 18 over Wheeler last week and they won 26-13. Take away the final Bearcat score and the final would have been 26-7, a 19-point spread.

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

 

GRIFFITH (09-11-2020) There isn’t a lot of history to go on where it comes to Griffith. They were overwhelmed at Hobart and that wasn’t a surprise. The problem for the Panthers Friday is that Lowell has a good defense as well. They’ve allowed 32 points (10.6 per game) in three games.

Griffith will come out with a spirited effort and might keep Lowell scoreless for a quarter.

Lowell has tall receivers in Mike Havel (6-3, 176) Caleb Miranda (6-2, 216) and Spencer Barta (6-3, 210). Griffith’s secondary includes Rondell Latiker (5-10, 165) and Kyle Atkinson (5-7, 145). That appears to be a size mismatch and the Red Devils will have some success passing again this week. QB Cam Stojancevich tosses two more TD passes this week and Lowell’s Joe Heuer and the offensive line go over 100 yards again.

But this game will be dominated by the Devils’ defense. They will get three turnovers and four sacks. The Panthers play hard, they have a good QB and there’s games left on their schedule that they will win. This isn’t one of them.


 

LOWELL 30, Griffith 7

 

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Revised: September 09, 2020 .